Quarantine-Design: 10 Affordable and Easy Tips for your Wellbeing at Home during the COVID-19 Crisis

As a certified yoga teacher and passionate wellness advocate, I decided to put together 10 easy and accessible tips for quarantine-friendly living during the current COVID-19 crisis. Though these wellness tips are universally applicable, you may feel heightened sensations of anxiety, confusion or stress, experience a lack of physical movement, or you simply want to increase the feeling of wellbeing while your (not-so-voluntary) home stay. By following these 10 tips, your home will become your sanctuary during these stressful and uncertain times.

1. De-Cluttering

The probably biggest and most impactful thing you can do at home is to create a harmonious space, trying to minimize the physical clutter in your home. Countless books and blogposts have been already written on how to best approach this.

Marie Kondo, the world-famous de-cluttering author, suggests an easy-to-follow plan to achieve lasting results: Gather your belongings into categories and subcategories. In each category, pick up the object and ask yourself if it brings joy. If it does – keep it, if it doesn’t – discard it. Store the items from each category in one place.

When being forced to spend so much time at home, you want to make sure to create a space that makes you feel relaxed and at ease. By getting rid of the items you don’t really enjoy, you create more calmness, so your mind can focus on what really matters to you at the moment. Your nervous system is very likely already busy juggling so many new feelings and changes, so decreasing visual stimuli helps to promote your mental wellbeing.

2. Room Climate

You do not need to understand the principles of Feng Shui to create a positive room climate. Airing your room, apartment or house is a great way to significantly improve the room climate and increase oxygen levels, which again are important for proper brain function.

Another easy way to improve your room climate is through smells. Diffusing essential oils or using aroma sprays stimulate the smell receptors in your nose, which then send through your nervous system a message to your limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions. The following essential oils are great for home use:

  • Lavender: soothes stress, calming, promotes healthy sleep
  • Frankincense: immune booster, relieves stress, anxiety, depression and headaches
  • Cypress: grounding during difficult times, soothes stress and overwhelm
  • Sweet Orange: refreshing, energising, balancing
  • Bergamot: raise low spirits, soothe anxiety and worries, refreshing and uplifting

Companies, like Farfalla, offer aroma blends for different purposes, in spray form or for a diffuser. Ideally, use the aroma after airing.

Other big impacts on room climate are frequently cleaning the house, especially making sure the windows are clean and clear. Further, relaxing music can help calm down the nervous system.

3. Greens

House plants offer many benefits for the atmosphere in a room. Next to producing oxygen and lowering the amount carbon dioxide in the air, they help to keep the air humid. Especially during dry winter months, this is beneficial for skin and the respiratory system. The humidity also makes it harder for viruses to survive and transmission. The plant leaves and roots both absorb and store pollutants from the air, which makes them great air purifiers, too. Especially great common plants for this purpose are the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), golden photos (Epipremnum aureum) and common ivy (hedera helix).

Next to green plants, fresh flowers will have an uplifting effect. While florist’s shops are closed, most of them offer a delivery service during this time. Maybe check out your favorite flower shop’s homepage and give them a call. Not only will you improve your own mood, but also support small local businesses during these uncertain and challenging times.

4. Textiles

Your home textiles are quick to gather dust and other pollutants, so making sure they are well cleaned can improve the freshness of your home. Try to air out your blanket and pillow every morning, and shaking out your quilts, carpets and cushions weekly.

Next to keeping your home textiles fresh by airing them, make sure to wash your bedsheets weekly, if you’re not doing that already. White or natural-colour bedsheets can be lightened with a natural, oxygen-based bleaching complex and stain remover. Fresh, crispy white sheets will give you the feeling of waking up in a hotel bed every morning.

5. Home-Office

Dedicating an area in your home to set up a home-office might help you to become more productive and create some structure in your space. It is very tempting to work from your bed, but try to avoid this and honour your bed as a space for sleep and relaxation. Set up your laptop in a place where you can sit comfortably, making sure you have enough light and surface area for any other objects you may need. Set up your cables in a way that they are easily accessible and clean. Prioritise ergonomics, and make sure you have some water or tea nearby to stay hydrated. Further, get dressed like you would normally during a day at the office. Changing your clothes can help you to foster the right mindset for being productive even from home.

6. Meditation & Movement Area

If you have the space, I recommend allocating an area of your space to movement and meditation. Just like honouring your bed for sleep and relaxation, your home-office setup for productivity and work, your meditation and movement area should be calm yet gently stimulating. Maybe you have a mediation cushion, but normal cushions or a folded blanked work equally well. You can set up a little altar with candles, maybe a manual for breathing exercises, flowers or an inspiring image or moodboard. Whatever it is for you, make sure you air out the space before you start your home meditation or yoga practice. Here too, aroma sprays can help you set the mood, depending on your needs. Incense sticks are popular as well, but due to potentially hazardous side-effects on your respiratory system, I don’t recommend them.

7. Self-Care Rituals

Especially in times of worry and uncertainty, self-care rituals are important anchors for grounding you in the present moment. Taking care of yourself can look different for everyone. I recommend breathing consciously or meditation, and doing gentle yoga, dance or exercise. Moving and conscious breathing helps to release stagnant energy in your body. Self-care can also be reading a book, or consciously indulging in your favourite series or movies. Travel with your tastes and try new recipes. Do something that lifts your spirit and makes you feel good in your skin. Also, make sure to keep a healthy sleep rhythm with around seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and remember to reduce screen time several hours before going to bed, in order to not interfere with your body’s melatonin production.

8. Mental & Physical Health

As mentioned above, like self-care rituals, it is important to focus on your physical and mental health. Being home for a long time can cause feelings of anxiety and depression in many people, as routines and movement is minimized. Mentally, it is important to become aware your state of being and to breathe through it. Here, too, I highly recommend breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhana or Ujjayi breathing, as well as Yoga Nidra. All these can be looked up on Youtube or Google, there are numerous websites offering great tools and resources for your home yoga practice. Relaxation helps to boost your immune system, so eliminating stress through mindfulness practices is an accessible and free tool to promote health and resilience. To take care of your physical health, make sure to include an abundance of fresh and raw fruit and vegetables into your diet, and decrease the amount of highly processed and pre-packaged food. Whole plant foods help to minimise the stress on your body. Further, taking warm baths help to activate your immune system. You can also supplement with vitamins like D3, B12, and C, as well as minerals like Zinc. Exposing your skin to the sun for 10-15 minutes daily naturally helps to active vitamin D production in your body, as well as improve your mood. Anti-viral agents like ginger, garlic, green tea, elderberry and echinacea are great to include in your diet or as a supplement.

9. Social Contact

One important aspect to improve mental health is to stay in social contact through phone calls and video calls. Especially for those living alone, calling your friends or family is crucial for mental health to prevent feelings of loneliness or social isolation. Share your thoughts and feelings about the situation and know that you are not alone. Maybe you take a virtual coffee break with your friends or colleagues, discussing non-work-related issues. You can even organise a nap call with your friends. While real social interaction is important, try not to compensate this by spending extra hours on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, as they are known to promote anxiety and a sense of isolation. Consume mindfully when being online.

10. Being

Lastly, and most importantly, you don’t need to treat this time as the opportunity to get your life together, become super fit or finish every point on your to-do list. Know that your mental and physical wellbeing have highest priority now, and that you can treat this time as a period for reflection and self-care. Think kind thoughts and speak compassionately to yourself. There is nothing to achieve. Dealing with this situation is for many people already enough, especially for those already prone to anxiety or depression. It is perfectly ok to simply be, look out of the window, get bored and do nothing productive at times. Try to change your mindset from a hyper-active, over-stimulated and worried one to a grateful, loving and accepting one.

Final Thoughts

These were my 10 tips on how to design your quarantine, so it promotes your physical and mental wellbeing the best way possible. The current COVID-19 crisis requires you to put special emphasis on your personal wellbeing.

Wellness is largely a question of the mind and the conscious engagement with your physical surroundings. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and know that you have already all that you need to be well – right now and right where you are.

 

1 Reply to “Quarantine-Design: 10 Affordable and Easy Tips for your Wellbeing at Home during the COVID-19 Crisis”

  1. This is a very balanced, well-written article which was easy to follow from beginning to end. Just through reading it I was almost able to feel this peaceful calm home situation you paint with words.

    Your tips are practical, detailed, and can be employed by anyone. You don’t just tell people what they should do but also give them pointers on where they can access what they need.
    Each tip you give is explained and backed up by information: for example, when you mention diffusing aromas, you explain how essential oils stimulate your nervous system and limbic system and in term affect your emotions. You even recommend Farfalla, an essential oil manufacturer, for people to easily access the recommended oils.

    Reading this article was not only informative and interesting but made me aware of certain things I hadn’t paid that much attention too before. I am also a fan of clean bedding but had no idea that it collects pollutants and should be regularly aired. I guess that’s one to add to my list of chores. It also inspired me to take more steps in de-cluttering my space and maybe even try out the breathing exercises you suggest.

    Interestingly I’ve noticed myself picking up a few habits that you mention in your article. I’ve started reading for pleasure, doing some yoga and catching up with my Australians friends more regularly. It didn’t occur to me until reading this article that reading can actually be an act of self-care but reflecting on it now I understand how. I wonder if there is an instinctual part of us that turns to these rituals when we have the possibility and time to do so.

    Your knowledge of health and well-being shines through this text and make it clear that well-being is a state of mind that can be attained by anyone. You don’t criticise but merely encourage and I think this is a very good approach to a subject of such importance.

    The last tip, ‘Being’ is a great one to end on. During this time, we are bombarded, especially online, with ads that suggest we achieve this, or become a pro at that, or get fit, or learn a language. We feel the pressure to be productive and get things done. That’s why I find the last point in your article perhaps the most significant and it’s great to see it being addressed. You mention just being, not pressuring ourselves and even using this time to self-reflect. I believe this is a vastly underestimated act and one we often avoid by distracting ourselves with other chores.

    What was especially lovely about this article was the gentle yet positive approach it takes, which I believe to be a reflection of the author. It is encouraging without being forceful and positive without operating in hyperdrive. An absolute pleasure to read. Thank you.

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